Take a 3D Tour of Richard III's Grave

By Esther Inglis-Arkell on at

Richard III is best known as the eponymous villain in one of Shakespeare’s plays, and second best known for having his body discovered in a car park in 2012. The remains were re-interred in a suitably sober fashion, but now you can get a 3D glimpse at what the king’s original grave looked like.

People first began speculating that the former King of England’s remains were under a car park in 1975, but it took until 2012 for the remains to be unearthed, and another year for the finding to be confirmed as Richard III. And University of Leicester scientists have not stopped working, both to expand our knowledge of history, and to spark the public’s interest in history.

To do the latter, the Leicester scientists used Sketchfab, a 3D sharing platform, to take people “into” the grave. You can browse freely, or take a quick tour by clicking on five annotated highlights. One focuses on the spine, which is noticeably crooked. In Shakespeare’s play, Richard III’s villainy springs up from the fact that he is an unattractive “hunchback”. Historians had wondered whether Richard’s curved spine was mere propaganda.

Another annotation shows that the grave was poorly dug and too short for the body; the skull is propped up on a wall. Richard lost his crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The victor, Henry Tudor — father to the more-famous Henry VIII — declared himself the legitimate king and Richard the usurper of the crown. That’s probably why he wasn’t buried with any kind of care or ceremony, in a too-small hole in the ground.

If you want to take a look, go ahead and check out the grave on Sketchfab.